Math facts are a fundamental part of first grade math, and it’s almost impossible to get too much practice with them. You can always buy expensive flashcard sets, but there's no need when you've got household stuff and a little imagination. Here’s a way for two kids—or a kid with a grownup helper—to have a blast with nothing more than an egg carton and some small beans or pennies lying around the house!
2 “game tokens” (pennies, chips, or beans work well)
2 pieces of white paper
What You Do:
Use your marker to put a number in the bottom of each egg cup in the carton. (If you have a math beginner, start by cutting your carton in half, so you only have six cups; if you’ve got a kid who’s surging ahead, go ahead and use all twelve!)
Put a bowl of game tokens (pennies, marbles or beans) in the center of your table or play area and place two pieces into the egg carton.
Each player takes turns shaking the carton and then writing an addition problem on their paper using the two number sections the pieces landed in. Let’s say, for example, that the two pieces landed in 4 and 6. The addition problem would then be 4+6.
The person with the highest sum after each player has had a turn would then take a token from the bowl in the center of the table. If a wrong answer is given, a token is returned to the bowl. In case of a tie, each child takes a token.
Continue playing until each player has collected five tokens. Do this a few times, and be prepared to see steady gains in your young mathematician’s adding confidence!
Victoria Hoffman, M.A. Teaching and Leadership, is an elementary school teacher, writer and mother from Leonardtown, Maryland. She has taught grades K-5 in both regular and special education classrooms.